Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

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For some reason, when I ever I go in with zero plan to make a meal, those tend to be the ones that work out best. When I go in with a plan, my kitchen laughs at me and tells me to try again (and again, and again). This was a one-try wonder which I greatly appreciate as I dislike having to make a recipe many times to get it to work perfectly. Looking at you Lentil Meatloaf Muffins

Anyways, we have a bunch of butternut squash coming in our garden right now so I knew I needed something to use them up. Mac and cheese immediately popped into my head. I know there are dozens of ways to make mac and cheese and generally, I am not a person who makes homemade mac and cheese because it tends to be more work and effort than I like to put into a meal.

Every year, when my mom asks what she can make me for a birthday dinner, I usually ask for something with mac and cheese, because she makes really mac and cheese with a roux and all. This is 100x simpler. The most difficult part is peeling the butternut squash, which is honestly a pain, but worth it. Oh, quick side note, this makes a lot, so have people to share it with, for someone’s birthday say?

Begin by peeling and dicing the butternut squash. If you aren’t sure how to do this, check out this YouTube video. I strongly recommend using an Instant Pot to cook the butternut squash. That’s literally the trick to making this mac and cheese an easy weeknight meal. If you are going to use an Instant Pot, place all the cubed butternut squash into a steamer basket. Press the pressure cook button, set the temp to normal, and set the time to 7 minutes. Place the lid on and make sure the toggle is set to sealing. After 7 minutes, do a quick release

If you do not have an Instant Pot, you can toss the squash in about a tablespoon of oil and roast it in the oven at 375 for 20 minutes.

While you are waiting for the squash to cook, whether in the oven or Instant Pot, you can cook your pasta. I used a 16 oz box of elbow noodles and cooked according to the package directions. Once the pasta is done, drain and set aside.

Transfer cooked butternut squash directly to a blender and add the following ingredients: 1 tbsp butter, 1 tbsp cream cheese, 1 tsp garlic, 1/2 tbsp onion powder, 1 tsp salt, a generous amount of pepper, and 1 cup milk. Blend all ingredients well until smooth and pourable, adding more milk if needed.

Pour the butternut squash mixture over the pasta and stir well to combine.

Add 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese and stir well until fully melted. If you are making this directly out of the oven or Instant Pot, it should be plenty hot to melt the cheese without putting it over heat. Taste test and add additional salt or pepper. Enjoy!

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 16 oz elbow macaroni
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese

Instructions:

  1. Peel and cube butternut squash.
  2. Place the squash into an Instant Pot steamer basket. Set the Instant Pot to pressure cook/normal temp/7 minutes, making sure the toggle is set to sealing (and that you have your sealing ring on, it’s happened to me too).
  3. If you don’t have an Instant Pot, preheat your oven to 375 and roast the squash for 20 minutes.
  4. While waiting on the squash to cook, cook 16 oz of elbow noodles according to the package directions, then set aside.
  5. Place the cooked butternut squash in a blender with 1 tbsp butter, 1 tbsp cream cheese, 1 tsp garlic, 1 tsp salt, a generous amount of pepper, 1/2 tbsp onion powder, and 1 cup of milk. Blend until smooth and pourable.
  6. Pour the butternut squash mixture over the cooked pasta and stir to combine.
  7. Add 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese and stir until fully melted. Taste test, adding additional salt or pepper if necessary then serve!

Creamy Chickpea Soup

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As I have multiple recipes including it, you can probably tell I love turmeric. It has a wonderful slightly sweet yet earthy flavor and you can’t beat the beautiful yellow color. So here we are with another recipe using turmeric. Creamy Chickpea Soup is a quick cooking soup that use a roux as a base to get the creamy texture.

When I first started cooking roux’s were slightly intimidating but after years of practice it’s really a simple ratio and accepting that you may need a bit of patience. So to start just dice about a cup of celery and 1/2 an onion. Place these in a soup pot with a bit of oil and 1 tsp of garlic. Saute the onion, celery and garlic for about 5-10 minutes until the onion is translucent.

I used frozen celery. Bought fresh but diced and frozen for future use.

Once the onion is translucent, add 2 tbsp of butter. Let this fully melt then add 1/4 cup of flour and combine them well. The vegetables will begin lumping together.

Continue sauteing this for 3-5 minutes then very slowly stir in 2 cups of milk to combine with the roux. The temp should be medium high as the milk will need to come to a simmer. Milk can scald very easily so just make sure the temp isn’t too high and that you are stirring continuously. As you stir it should begin to thicken. Set the temperature to medium and while stirring frequently allow the milk to thicken. You should be able to feel the difference as you stir.

Once the milk has thickened, add 2 cups of broth, once again pouring in slowly and stirring consistently. This may take away some of the thickness so make sure the milk is thoroughly thickened before adding broth. Allow this to simmer for about 5-10 minutes once added, stirring frequently.

Add 2 cups of frozen mixed vegetables, 15 oz of chickpeas (drained and rinsed), 1 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for about 10 minutes until the mixed vegetables are cooked through and serve.

Creamy Chickpea Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 an onion
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • oil of choice
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 15 oz can of chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Diced 1 cup of celery and 1/2 an onion. Place these in a pot with 1 tsp garlic and a bit of oil. Saute for about 5-10 minutes until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add 2 tbsp butter, let this melt and combine with the veggies. Once butter is fully melted, add 1/4 cup of flour. Stir to combine the veggies, butter and flour and create a roux. Let this cook for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Very slowly add 2 cups of milk, stirring continuously as you add it. As you continue stirring, bring the milk to simmering. As you stir you should feel the milk begin to thicken. Simmer about 5-10 minutes until thickened.
  4. Slowly add 2 cups of vegetable broth, stirring frequently. Allow this to simmer for another 5-10 minutes until thickened.
  5. Add 2 cups of frozen mixed vegetables, 1 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp paprika, 15 oz can of chickpea (drained and rinsed), and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until the mixed veggies are cooked, then serve!

Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

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The other day while feeding my 8 month old sweet potato with barley I managed to, unknowingly, get sweet potato all over myself. My 8 month old handles preloaded spoons well, yet some how I always end up with food on my hands and once in a while in my hair. So while he was eating sweet potato I was eating Homemade Salsa, some how he got sweet potato in my salsa. I didn’t notice until I took a bite and it was surprisingly good and inspiration for dinner was born.

Frankly while I like the taste of sweet potato, not a huge fan of the texture so I knew there would need to be a balance. The black beans in this have a great taste and texture and could be used in many other meals and the broken chip pieces help alleviate the gooey texture of the sweet potatoes.

These do take a bit of time, but it depends on how many sweet potatoes for. If you are making only for 1 person, you can just microwave the sweet potato and it could be done in as little as 15 minutes. However if you are making more than 1, I’d just go ahead with oven baking them as it’ll take just as much time.

I’m going to go ahead with assuming you are making more than one so start by preheating the oven to 375. Wash 5 sweet potatoes and rub each with a small amount of oil. Using a fork, poke holes all over the sweet potatoes. I had a helper for this part.

Then lightly wrap in aluminum foil. Place all of the sweet potatoes in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour. After 45 minutes, check them by poking with a knife. If the knife slices through, they are done. Otherwise, place them back in the over for another 15 minutes before checking again.

When the sweet potatoes have about 15 minutes remaining, begin cooking your black beans. Drain and rinse a 15 oz can of black beans. Place the beans in a medium pot, add 4 oz can of diced green chilies, 1 1/4 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp turmeric, and 1/4 cup water. Stir well and bring to a boil. Once boiling, drop the temperature to medium and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes until the beans begin to thicken.

Once the sweet potatoes and beans are done, very carefully, open the aluminum foil and transfer to a plate. Cut the sweet potato in half, place about a 1/4 cup of beans in the middle, top with a bit of mozzarella cheese, a few tablespoons of salsa, and a couple crinkled up chips. Repeat for the rest of the potatoes and enjoy!

Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 5 sweet potatoes
  • 15 oz can black beans
  • 4 oz diced green chilies
  • 1 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 cup water
  • salsa
  • mozzarella
  • broken chip pieces

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375. Rinse and scrub each of the sweet potatoes then rub a bit of oil on each of the potatoes. Using a fork, poke holes all over the potatoes and wrap each in aluminum foil. Once preheated, place the sweet potatoes in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour. They should cut easily with a knife when cooked through.
  2. When there is about 15 minutes left on the potatoes begin making the black beans. Drain and rinse the black beans and transfer them to a medium pot. Add 1 1/4 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp turmeric, and 1/4 cup water.
  3. Bring the beans to a boil, then drop the temperature to medium-low. Let this simmer for about 10 minutes until the beans have thickened.
  4. Once the potatoes are done, remove them from the aluminum foil. Cut the potato in half and place about a 1/4 cup of beans in the middle. Add mozzarella, a few tablespoons of salsa, and a couple crumbled up chip pieces. Serve and enjoy!

Taco Pizza

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Growing up there was this little pizza shop near us that served wonderful taco pizza. It’s been probably 10 years since I’ve last had taco pizza and I decided to make my own. I used the 2-ingredient pizza dough and a homemade taco-ish seasoning but this would easily work with store bought crust and a packet of taco seasoning.

Begin by combining 1/2 a cup of TVP with 1 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/4 cayenne, 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp garlic powder and 3/4 cup of water. Bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat and let sit 5-10 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile make 2-ingredient pizza dough. Place 2 cups of self-rising flour in a large bowl with 2 cups of plain greek yogurt. Gently fold the yogurt into the flour. Initially use a spatula, but once mostly combined it will likely to be easier to finish combining by hand. Roll the dough into a ball and lay it out on a floured work surface.

Roll the dough out into a circular shape, as best as possible. I split my dough into one small ball of dough, one medium large because my husband doesn’t like any kind of condiment and I was determined to replicate the restaurant pizza, which required dressing. So he got his own pizza.

Anyways, once you roll out the pizza transfer the rolled out dough to a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat. Spread 1/2 cup salsa across the dough leaving the edge for crust, then add about 1 cup of cheese, 6 quartered cherry tomatoes, 1 thinly sliced bell pepper, and 3 tbsp of the cooked TVP.

Place the pizza in the oven (preheated to 425) and bake for about 15-20 minutes. The pizza is done once the edges start turning lightly brown and the cheese has fully melted. Remove the pizza and add a few pinches of shredded lettuce, a drizzle of ranch, and a small handful of crunched up chips. Serve and enjoy!

All the things.
Husband’s pizza

Taco Pizza

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup TVP
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 2 cups plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1 cup of mozzarella cheese
  • 6 cherry tomatoes (quartered)
  • 1 bell pepper (thinly sliced)
  • shredded lettuce
  • ranch dressing
  • optional: crunched up tortilla chips, olives

Instructions:

  1. In a sauce pot, combine TVP with cumin, paprika, cayenne, chili powder, onion powder, and garlic powder and water. Bring this to a boil then remove from heat and let sit for 5-10 minutes until all liquid is absorbed.
  2. Begin making your pizza dough. Combine 2 cups greek yogurt with 2 cups of self-rising flour. This gets very sticky so begin mixing with a spatula, once flour coats the yogurt you may have to use your hands to finish combining.
  3. Sprinkle a work surface with a bit of flour then lay the dough out. Roll the dough out until it’s semi circular. Alternatively, you can break it in half and make 2 pizzas which is what we usually do.
  4. Transfer dough to a prepared baking sheet. Place 1/2 cup of salsa in center and spread around evenly.
  5. Add all remaining topping except lettuce, dressing, chips and olives (if using).
  6. Place pizza in the oven at 425 for 15-20 minutes until crust is lightly brown and cheese has fully melted.
  7. Once the pizza is done, remove from the oven and add the last of the toppings (lettuce, dressing, chip crumbles) before cutting and serving.

Curried Lentil Potato Soup

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My 3 year old has strange tastes. Not like a “he eats watermelon with ketchup” weird (though he does that too) but like, he doesn’t like buttered noodles. What child doesn’t like buttered noodles?? I swear he doesn’t like them just to be contrary because what’s simpler than buttered noodles when you are in a hurry for a meal. Anyways, one type of noodle that he does love is noodles that have been cooked in curry and turmeric, which is how I came upon this soup.

That said, the noodles are totally optional. I think they add a nice balance to make this soup a bit thicker and less broth-y, but if the potatoes are plenty for you that’s great and saves you a few minutes on cook time.

Start by dicing 1/2 an onion, 1 cup of celery (2-3 stalks), and 1 cup of carrots (~2 carrots). Place these in a soup pot with a bit of oil and saute for about 5 minutes. Add 1 tsp turmeric and 1 tsp curry powder. Cook until fragrant, about another 5 minutes.

Yes, I need a new soup pot.

Add 8 cups of broth, 2/3 cup of rinsed lentils, and the diced potatoes. In regards to the potatoes, I used 2 russet potatoes this time but I’ve made it with 4 little red potatoes before. Either works. Bring the soup to a boil and allow it to simmer for 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes, add 1 cup of small pasta (I used elbows) and cook for another 10 minutes before serving.

Curried Lentil Potato Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 an onion
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 2/3 cup brown lentils
  • 2 russet potatoes (or 4 red potatoes)
  • 1 cup of small pasta (I used elbows)

Instructions:

  1. Dice onion, celery and carrots. Place these in a large soup pot with a bit of oil and saute for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add 1 tsp turmeric and 1 tsp curry powder and allow this to cook with the veggies for another 5 minutes or so.
  3. Add 8 cups vegetable broth, 2/3 cup lentils, and diced potatoes. Bring broth to a boil. Once boiling drop the temperature to medium to allow it to simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add 1 cup of pasta, cook for another 10 minutes, or until the pasta is fully cooked.

Pepper “Steak” with Soy Curls

Jump to Pepper Steak : Jump to Cream of Mushroom Soup

Growing up, Pepper Steak was a meal we had frequently. My mom always made it with a can of cream of mushroom soup, bell peppers, soy sauce, and cut flank steak. I’ve been trying to recreate it for a few year, but I didn’t want the texture of tofu in it. I had never tried soy curls before but when I heard of them I knew they would be a perfect option for Pepper Steak. I plan to try this again with tempeh in the future, so keep an eye out for that recipe eventually.

This came together really well. It did take a little longer than I intended it to, which isn’t uncommon for me, but that’s because I wanted to make my own cream of mushroom soup. I’m going to include the instructions below for cream of mushroom soup. If you are in a time crunch or just don’t enjoy cooking, skip on past and feel free to use a can of cream of mushroom soup instead.

For the cream of mushroom soup, dice 6 mushrooms and 1/4 of an onion. Saute these in a bit of oil until the mushrooms have softened and onions are translucent. Add 2 tbsp of butter and allow it to fully melt, then add 6 tbsp flour. Stir this continuously until the mushrooms and onions sort of coagulate.

Slowly and while continuously stirring, add in 30 oz of vegetable broth. Let this simmer until it begins to thicken. Once the soup is thick, add 3/4 cup of milk and 1 tbsp of cream cheese. Allow the soup to continue simmering until the cream cheese has melted and combined. Set aside 2 cups of mushroom soup for the pepper steak and the rest can be saved for a different meal.

SKIP TO HERE IF YOU ARE USING CANNED SOUP.

Dice 2 small bell peppers. In a large pot, saute bell peppers in a small amount of sesame oil until softened. Add 6 oz of soy curls (I used Butler’s brand), 2 cups mushroom soup (or 1 can of cream of mushroom), 2 tbsp hoisin sauce, 3 tbsp soy sauce, and a good amount of pepper. Stir well to combine.

Allow this to simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes. In the meantime, make a pot of rice. Once the pepper steak has thickened a bit and rice is finished, serve and enjoy!

Pepper Steak with Soy Curls

Cream of Mushroom Soup Ingredients:

  • 6 mushrooms
  • 1/4 of an onion
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 6 tbsp flour
  • 30 oz vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp cream cheese

Pepper Steak Ingredients:

  • 2 small bell peppers
  • sesame oil
  • 6 oz soy curls
  • 2 cups cream of mushroom soup (or 1 can of store bought cream of mushroom soup)
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • pepper

Cream of Mushroom Soup instructions:

  1. Dice 6 mushrooms and about a 1/4 of an onion. Saute the mushrooms and onions in a bit of oil until the onion is translucent.
  2. Add 2 tbsp of butter and allow it to fully melt, then add 6 tbsp flour. Stir consistently until the butter, onion, mushroom and flour combine.
  3. Slowly, and while continuously stirring, add 30 oz of vegetable broth. Let this simmer until it begins to thicken, about 10 minutes.
  4. Once the soup has thickened add 3/4 cup of milk and 1 tbsp cream cheese. Continue simmering until the cream cheese has melted and combined.
  5. Set aside 2 cups of soup for the pepper steak. The rest can be saved for a future meal itself.

Pepper Steak Instructions:

  1. Dice 2 small bell peppers. In a large pot, saute the bell peppers in a small amount of sesame oil until the peppers have softened.
  2. Add 6 oz of Butler’s Soy Curls, 2 cups mushroom soup (or 1 can of store bought), 2 tbsp hoisin sauce, 3 tbsp soy sauce, and a good amount of pepper. Stir well to combine.
  3. Allow this mixture to simmer and thicken for about 10-15 minutes. In the meantime, make a pot of rice. Once the pepper steak has thickened and rice is finished, you are ready to serve.
  4. Optional toppings: Peanuts, green onions, sesame seeds

Grilled Pizza

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Grilled pizza has been a common recipe in my family for years but I just found out that not everyone knows that you can grill pizza. Got to say this is my absolute favorite way to eat pizza. I would choose this pizza over take out any day. The crust turns out with an excellent crunch you can’t get through take out and start to finish it takes about 15 – 20 minutes.

So you begin by making your pizza dough. It’s a 1:1 ratio of self-rising flour and plain greek yogurt (whole milk or non-fat, both work). Easy to adjust if you have more or less people. We do 2 cups flour, 2 cups yogurt so that there are leftovers for lunch the next day. I usually do a heaping 2nd cup of flour because I find 2 level cups leave it a bit too sticky to work with.

Place the flour in a large bowl followed by the yogurt. Using a silicone spatula, fold the yogurt into the flour until just combine. It’s difficult to combine this without using your hands but this is about the point where it’ll be workable with your hands.

Continue combining the dough until all the yogurt is mixed in and there are no dry spots. Once it has all mixed together, sprinkle flour on your work surface and place the dough down. Roll it out until pizza ish shaped. We normally split the dough in half and make 2 separate pizzas. Also, I’ve never been able to get mine to be a circular pizza. Usually ends up looking like Australia or Ireland, which tastes just the same.

Sprinkle a baking sheet with a bit of flour and transfer the dough on to it. Bring your rolled out dough to the preheated grill. Place the dough directly on the grill, cooking for a few minutes and checking to make sure it doesn’t burn. Once the one side is cooked, flip (using a grill spatula and tongs) to cook the other side.

Once both sides are cooked, remove the crust and top with your preferred toppings. We did pizza sauce, mozzarella, teriyaki tofu, bell pepper, onion, and a sprinkle of feta. Place the pizza with toppings directly back on the grill to melt the cheese.

Key for this whole process is keeping an eye on the pizza, top and bottom, the whole time. The bottom can burn easily so just check it regularly and adjust the temperature as needed. Once the cheese has had time to melt, you are ready to serve.

Grilled Pizza

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups self-rising flour (+ a little extra for work surfaces)
  • 2 cups non-fat plain greek yogurt
  • pizza sauce
  • 2 cup bag of mozzarella cheese
  • Toppings of choice: bell pepper, onion, tofu, cherry tomatoes, other veggies, feta, black beans, whatever you prefer

Instructions:

  1. Place 2 cups of self-rising flour in a large bowl with 2 cups of non-fat plain greek yogurt. Fold these together using a silicone spatula until yogurt is well combined with the flour. Once mostly combined, use your hands to combine it the rest of the way until dough is fully formed.
  2. Sprinkle your work surface with a bit of flour and place the dough down. Separate the dough into 2. Roll out the first half of the dough using a rolling pin, sprinkling a bit of flour if there are spots that stick.
  3. Transfer dough directly onto the preheated grill. Cook on a medium low flame until the first side is cooked. Check this regularly and adjust temperature as needed to assure it does not burn. Once the first side has cooked, flip using a spatula and tongs and cook the other side.
  4. Remove from the grill and add sauce, cheese, and any desired toppings. Place the pizza directly back onto the grill. Allow this to remain on the grill until the cheese has melted, still frequently checking the bottom to assure it doesn’t burn. Once cheese has melted, time to enjoy!

Pesto Pasta with Oven Roasted Veggies

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Did you know you can make pesto out of more than basil? Pesto can be made with basil, arugula, kale, spinach, peas…as long as its bright green it should work (I mean, within reason, no cucumber pesto or zucchini pesto). My problem with basil is that it’s hard to enough on hand to make pesto whenever you want it. Frozen peas on the other hand are easy to find, super affordable, and able to keep for extended period of time.

I prepped most of this earlier in the day so that I could throw it together before dinner time but you could easily make it all at once. Start by dicing all the vegetables: 1 zucchini, 1 yellow squash, 1/2 an eggplant, and 1 onion. Place these in a bowl and add 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar and 2 tbsp olive oil. Stir well to combine. Transfer the veggies to a prepared baking pan. Preheat your oven to 350 and cook for 30 minutes.

While waiting for the veggies to cook, you can prepare the pesto and pasta. Cook 4 cups of peas until defrosted. Once cooked, drain and transfer to a large food processor. Add 2 tsp garlic, 3 tbsp nutritional yeast, 1/3 cup olive oil, juice from 1 lemon and 3/4 tsp salt.

In previous posts I’ve mention that I try not to add additional salt to meals. I stand by that generally, but felt that salt was definitely necessary for the flavor in this. However, feel free to adjust to salt to your preferences. Pulse the ingredients until smooth. Set aside until veggies and pasta are done.

Using a large soup pot, cook 1 lb (a full box) of pasta as directed on the box. I used Rigatoni and cooked it just past al dente, about 15 minutes. Once the veggies are done in the oven, the pasta is cooked and drained, and pesto is made, combine all in the large pot and stir to combine. It was a decent arm work out, haha. Once it’s all mixed together, you are ready to eat! Makes a large amount, seeing as you are using a full box of pasta, so plan for a few leftovers or lunches.

Pesto Pasta with Oven Roasted Veggies

Ingredients:

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1/2 an eggplant
  • 1 onion
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cups peas
  • 2 tsp garlic
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 lb rigatoni (1 box)

Instructions:

  1. Dice all vegetables and place them in a large bowl. Combine veggies with 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and 2 tbsp olive oil. Place this in a large baking pan and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
  2. While the veggies are cooking, proceed with cooking 4 cups of peas until defrosted. Drain the peas and place them in a large food processor with 2 tsp garlic, 3 tbsp nutritional yeast, 1/3 cup olive oil, juice from 1 lemon, and 3/4 tsp salt. Combine these until smooth. Set this aside until veggies and pasta are done.
  3. In a large soup pot, cook 1 lb of pasta as directed on the box, generally just past al dente, about 15 minutes. Drain and return to pot once finished.
  4. Once pasta, veggies and pesto are done, add all ingredients to the large soup pot. Stir until fully combined. Serve!

Black Bean and TVP Tacos with Homemade Refried Beans

Jump to Tacos : Jump to Refried Beans

Tacos are a common staple in our house. We make them in various ways depending on the time we have on hand and what kind of ingredients and produce we have available. One of my complaints is that when we just throw it together with minimal ingredients and zero measuring is that we don’t have leftovers. Who wouldn’t want leftovers of tacos for the rest of the week or for lunch?

This recipe for Black Bean and TVP tacos is filling, flavorful and makes a ton of leftovers for a small family or plenty for each person in a bigger household. It comes together really quickly. Seriously, the rice took longer than the actual taco filling. It uses a homemade version of taco seasoning (or you could use store bought) and mostly canned goods so you can always have the stuff on hand.

I’ll be honest, no matter what I did refried beans just aren’t pretty and don’t photograph well. I wish they did because the picture doesn’t do them justice. They taste better than store bought and have none of the processed or hidden ingredients (aka lard) found in store bought.

The tacos and the refried beans come together in about the same amount of time so it doesn’t matter which you start first. I’ll start with the refried beans, but feel free to skip on if you are only making the tacos.

Refried Beans: Drain and rinse a 15 oz can of pinto beans. Place the beans in small/medium pot with 1/2 cup vegetable broth, 1 tsp garlic, 1 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast, and 1 1/2 tbsp cumin.

Bring this to a boil. Once boiling drop the temperature to medium and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. If the broth evaporates before the end of the 10 minutes, add a bit more as you will need it when you blend them. After 10 minutes, place in a glass or metal bowl and use an immersion blender to blend them to your desired consistency.

They aren’t pretty, but they taste good.

Adding a note here that you can use a blender or food processor for this also. If you use an immersion blender, make sure you do not do it in your pot. It will damage the non-stick coating.

Black Bean and TVP Tacos: Dice one bell pepper, then drain and rinse a 15 oz can of black beans and a 15 oz can of hominy. Place the bell pepper, black beans, hominy, 15 oz diced tomatoes, 1 cup of TVP, 1 cup vegetable broth, 1 tsp garlic, 1 tbsp cumin, 1 tbsp chili powder, 1 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/4 cayenne, and 1/2 tsp salt in an extra large skillet. Stir this all until well combined. Bring to a boil and then allow it to simmer for about 10 minutes until all liquid has been absorbed.

That’s it! You’re ready to serve. Goes wonderful with raw onion on top, fresh cherry tomatoes, cilantro, sour cream, guacamole, all the toppings! We served ours on corn tortillas, but they’d go great in store bought shells or flour tortillas.

I chose tomatoes and raw onion on a corn tortilla.

Black Bean and TVP Tacos with Homemade Refried Beans

Refried Bean Ingredients:

  • 15 oz can pinto beans
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cumin

Taco Ingredients:

  • 1 medium bell pepper
  • 15 oz can black beans
  • 15 oz can hominy
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup TVP
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Optional: Corn tortillas, flour tortillas, taco shells, cilantro, cherry tomatoes, raw onion, sour cream

Refried Beans:

  1. Drain and rinse the pinto beans. In a small/medium pot, combine the beans, 1/2 cup vegetable broth, 1 tsp garlic, 1 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast, and 1 1/2 tbsp cumin.
  2. Bring to a boil, then allow this to simmer for 10 minutes. If the liquid evaporates before the end of the 10 minutes, add a bit more.
  3. After 10 minutes, place the beans and bit of liquid in a glass or metal bowl and using an immersion blender, blend to desired consistency. You can use a food processor or blender if you do not have an immersion blender.

Black Bean and TVP Tacos:

  1. Dice a medium bell pepper. Drain and rinse a 15 oz can of black beans and 15 oz can of hominy. Then combine bell pepper, black beans, hominy, 15 oz diced tomatoes, 1 cup of TVP, 1 cup of vegetable broth, 1 tsp garlic, 1 tbsp cumin, 1 tbsp chili powder, 1 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/4 tsp cayenne, and 1/2 tsp salt in an extra large skillet.
  2. Bring this to a boil. Once boiling, drop the temperature and allow it to simmer for about 10 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed.
  3. Serve on choice of tortilla with refried beans and toppings of choice.

Lentil “Meat”Loaf Muffins

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I would never have considered myself a go getter. I’m more of a “is that within arm’s reach?” kind of person. I generally like to find the easy way to do things successfully. So when I am now telling to that these are easy to make, you should take my word for it because I had to make them FOUR TIMES to get them right. If I am willing to retry the same recipe FOUR FRIGGIN’ TIMES, you should assume it wasn’t that much effort.

Now, I have zero plans to eat these again in the next couple weeks because I’ve had to try them a lot, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. You totally should. They are flavorful, fast, and save well! They are very similar in flavor to my Lentil Oat Burgers.

Two recommendations: 1) Pre-make your lentils and rice earlier in the day. That way they are done and ready to go which makes this a super fast dinner. 2) Use a large food processor. If you have a smaller cup food processor, you can cut the recipe in half and it will make about 6 muffins.

So assuming you’ve pre-made your lentils (3 cups water, 1 cup brown lentils for ~20 minutes) and 2 cups rice (2 cups water, 1 cup rice for ~15 minutes), place those in a food processor and slightly blend. Add 1 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp poultry seasoning, 1 tsp garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup bread crumbs, and a bit of pepper. Blend well. It’s fine if you see a few bits of whole rice or lentils but most of it should be “mush” for lack of a better term.

“Mush”

Prepare a muffin tin with cooking spray and preheat oven to 375. Spoon lentil/rice mixture into each cup, filling to the top. Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes until cooked through. Let them sit for 5-10 minutes before removing. If you remove right away, they will likely fall apart a bit. Giving them time lets them set. Serve with BBQ sauce, ketchup or dip of choice.

Lentil “Meat”Loaf Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of cooked brown lentils
  • 2 cups of cooked rice
  • 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • a little pepper

Instructions:

  1. Place cooked lentils and rice in food processor and pulse to combine a few times. Then add the rest of the ingredients, blend well.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 and prepare a muffin tin with cooking spray. Fill each tin to the top with the lentil/rice mixture.
  3. Place in the oven for 25 minutes until cooked through. Let sit for 5-10 min before eating to give it the chance to set. Serve with BBQ sauce, ketchup or condiment of choice.